The Expat dilemma – Sometimes I want a “real holiday”

Did you go home for Christmas?  As a family of four, we rarely do  because it’s too expensive, but we try to go to France once a year, and we especially make the effort now that we have kids.  We also go to my husband’s native country, Mauritius, as often as we can, which is usually every 2 or 3 years.

The thing is, because we “have” to go to France and Mauritius regularly, we never travel anywhere else. I do realise this is a first world problem, and we should be grateful we can actually afford to go on holidays. Sometimes I wish I could go to France and Mauritius once a year, and then take another holiday, somewhere I don’t know anybody, where I could just chill out.

Unfortunately we haven’t won the lotto yet. Holidays “in our home country” have to be part of the yearly budget, and it feels we are constantly saving just to go home. Saving to pay for flight or ferry tickets. Saving to spend while we’re at home. Saving, saving, saving. Now that the kids are older, they pay nearly the full price, and because one of them is going to school, we HAVE to go during mid-term break or summer time (which of course means more expensive journeys).

I know what you’re thinking. Mauritius has to be holiday for me right ? It’s an exotic place on the other side of the world, sandy beaches and palm trees all over the place. How stressful can it be?  The truth is, it is stressful, for my husband (therefore it is for me too). I would say it’s especially more complicated for him because he’s coming back from Europe, so he’s expected to help out financially. There is still this stereotype over there, that because we live in Europe, we are wealthier. In theory we are, but the cost of living in Ireland is much higher. Unfortunately we still have to explain that concept very often. When we are in Mauritius, my husband usually takes the role of cook, driver, tourist guide, event organiser and so on. So this is definitely not the typical “holiday”. As for me, after 5 times over there, and as much as I love Mauritius, I think I need to visit other places.

We always say “next year we’ll go to New-York / Greece / Spain / Morocco“…But there is always something happening that we need to be present for. Two years ago it was my brother-in- law’s wedding in Mauritius, last year was my sister’s 40th and my best friend’s wedding in France.

We all have a choice right?  I think my friends and family will always be the first choice, even if it means having to endlessly postpone a “real” holiday.

Are you in need of a “real” holiday?  How do you manage between the need to go home and the need to chill out somewhere else once in a while?


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